Phillies Notes: Oswalt finishing strong again

Even on a day when he walked six Dodgers, Roy Oswalt took a no-hitter into the sixth. His late-season record is impressive.
Even on a day when he walked six Dodgers, Roy Oswalt took a no-hitter into the sixth. His late-season record is impressive.
Posted: September 02, 2010

LOS ANGELES - In seven starts with the Phillies, Roy Oswalt is 4-1 with a 1.89 ERA.

"As advertised," shortstop Jimmy Rollins said.

Oswalt has been a Phillie for a month now, and the results have followed a trend throughout his entire career: Late in the season, Oswalt is at his best.

Oswalt has a career 3.22 ERA. In August, that dips to 2.67. In September and October, it's 2.78.

"That's how good he is," manager Charlie Manuel said. "That's how good he's been. That's pretty good."

Oswalt took a no-hitter into the sixth inning Wednesday even with suspect control. The first Dodgers hit, a single to right by Casey Blake, came on Oswalt's 102d pitch. He walked six, tying a career high in the 5-1 victory.

"It was a first-pitch fastball," Oswalt said. "I actually threw it where I wanted to."

Oswalt said he was aware of what was going on.

"I looked up and knew I didn't have any hits," he said, "but I had way too many pitches."

Manuel, for the record, said that if Oswalt had kept the no-no going, he would have thought about removing his starter at about 125 or 130 pitches.

With Oswalt at 107 pitches, Manuel let him hit in the seventh and face the first two batters in the bottom half of the inning. Rod Barajas popped out to second, but Ryan Theriot walked. Manuel decided that was enough.

The manager expressed his displeasure with home plate umpire Paul Nauert's strike zone afterward. He showed restraint, at least.

"For both teams, he was consistent," Manuel said. "I'll say that."

Oswalt was more upset at his own inconsistency, but satisfied with surviving. As for the first month as a Phillie, he couldn't be happier.

"My first start was a little hairy, but after that I got a lot better," Oswalt said. "I'm not really doing anything different than I was doing in Houston. It's just a different atmosphere, and you're actually playing for something."

One day in Denver

After Wednesday's game, the Phillies boarded a bus bound for LAX, where a plane took them to Denver instead of Philadelphia. Originally, the Phillies were scheduled to have Thursday off at home, but May rains created a one-day trip to face the Rockies at Coors Field.

Game 33 was supposed to be played May 11. It rained (and snowed some) that day in Denver. The game was rescheduled as part of a doubleheader the next day. Only one game was played because of the weather.

Colorado has to come home for one day in the middle of a crucial six-game road trip against San Francisco and San Diego. The Rockies played in San Francisco on Wednesday night and were expected to stay over and fly to Denver in the morning rather than sacrifice an entire night of sleep.

The Phillies won't be able to avoid that. They are expected to return home at 4 a.m. Friday. They play Milwaukee at 7:05 p.m. at Citizens Bank Park. Cole Hamels, that night's starter, will not fly ahead of the team. He's going to Denver, too.

Hamels said this would be no different from a normal night at home with his 11-month-old son, Caleb.

"I know how to function without sleep," Hamels quipped.

Brown's folly

Rookie Domonic Brown pinch-hit in the ninth and doubled deep into the left-field corner, his first hit in nine days. The ball bounced away from leftfielder Scott Podsednik and easily floated over the short fence at Dodger Stadium for a ground-rule double.

But Brown had been watching Podsednik, and after touching second base, he thought the ball had been caught. He began jogging toward the dugout when second-base umpire Ted Barrett pointed to second, apparently enough to get Brown's attention. He scrambled back.

What was the reaction in the dugout?

"Laughter," Jayson Werth said.

"If we had it, it definitely would be Kangaroo Court," Rollins said.

Extra bases

J.C. Romero faced one batter and induced a double play. Since his eight-game exile following a few weeks of struggles, Romero has pitched six innings and allowed one run. He has five strikeouts and zero walks in that span. . . . Rollins hit a home run on the second pitch of the game. It was his 35th career leadoff homer. . . . Catcher Paul Hoover joined the team as the first September call-up.

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